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Sepp Blatter and Michael Platini cleared of corruption charges.

Sepp Blatter and Michael Platini cleared of corruption charges.

A Swiss court has cleared former FIFA president Sepp Blatter and former UEFA president Michel Platini of corruption charges. After it was discovered that FIFA had given Mr. Platini two million Swiss francs (£1.7 million) in 2015, criminal charges were filed against the two. Following an investigation by the United States government that revealed a payment of about £2 million made by FIFA to Mr. Platini, Mr. Blatter, and Mr. Platini were on trial for corruption. Although the two claimed it was pre-planned, the prosecution said it was illegal. Mr. Platini led UEFA, the organization that governs football in Europe, and Mr. Blatter presided over FIFA, the world football authority.

Speaking following the verdict, Mr. Platini said: “I want to express my happiness for all my loved ones that justice has finally been done after seven years of lies and manipulation.” He added: “My fight is a fight against injustice. I won the first game.” Mr. Blatter said: “I’m not speaking about FIFA, I’m not speaking about corruption, I’m speaking about me.”

He added that he hasn’t broken any laws and concerning his conscience and spirit, he is pure.

The two men claimed that a gentleman’s agreement they struck in 1998 led to the payment in question being paid in 2011. This version of events, according to the prosecution, is an invention. It was stated that between 1998 and 2002, Mr. Platini received a yearly salary of 300,000 Swiss francs (£118,000 at the time) while serving as technical director for FIFA. Due to FIFA’s financial issues, it was decided that he would get the remaining one million francs (£400,000) in pay at a later time. Ten years later, Mr. Blatter was running for re-election as the leader of the global football governing body when he allowed the transfer of monies from FIFA to Mr. Platini.

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In the contest against Mohamed bin Hammam of Qatar, Mr. Platini was perceived to influence the European voting caucus. In 2015, the US government started a thorough investigation into allegations of bribery, fraud, and money laundering within FIFA, which resulted in Mr. Blatter resigning. He and Mr. Platini both received an eight-year football suspension in 2015, albeit this was eventually shortened. Mr. Platini asserted that the inquiry was a calculated attempt to keep him from taking over as FIFA president.

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